Sound — 9
The Orwells first came onto the scene when their single "Who Needs You" was released in 2013, which granted them audiences opening up for Arctic Monkeys, FIDLAR, and appearing on the "Late Show with David Letterman" in January 2014. The release of their second album "Disgraceland" on Canvasback/Atlantic (debut with a major label) was uneventful to say the least, getting universally average scores from websites and journalists worldwide. The lackluster performances on "Disgraceland" were enough to turn me off from listening to The Orwells any further, so suffice to say I was pleasantly surprised when the first single from "Terrible Human Beings" was released on October 3rd, 2016.
This short, but powerful song got me excited to hear new music from The Orwells once again, after nearly 3 years. It wasn't long after they released "They Put a Body in the Bayou," and then "Double Feature" in early Decemeber. The punchiness of "They Put a Body in the Bayou" sold me on getting the album on vinyl, and the expansive jam on "Double Feature" intrigued me significantly on what could be in store. The bass line that plays throughout the second half of the song gave me real Metric vibes, with a hint of The Pixies thrown in.
For a 5-piece band; Mario Cuomo (vocals), Dominic Corso (guitar), Grant Brinner (bass), Henry Brinner (drums), and Matt O'Keefe (guitar); the presence and "wall of sound" they deliver on "Terrible Human Beings" is absolutely stellar, and has already cemented itself as one of my favourite albums for 2017. Songs such as "Hippie Soldier," "Creatures," "Last Call (Go Home)," and "Vacation" are all just as great as the singles released, if not better.
Lyrics — 8
When it comes to Mario's lyrics and his overall presence on the album, I'd have to say it's his best stuff yet. There are a few low spots here and there, but the overall theme of his lyrics are easily understood and appreciated. Some unexpected themes were used along with themes that were very much expected, tackling topics such as: Corrupt Politics, Media Influence, Homelessness, Homicide, Drug Use, and Sex/Relationships. The wide variety of topics suited the variety of music on the album quite well, sticking to a '70s-'80s vibe with a modern attitude and approach.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, the album is truly fantastic for those who are fans of surf punk, indie rock, and the punk rock scene as a whole right now. From hardcore fans to folk fans, I think this album has a little something for everyone. With 13 songs coming in at just under 40 minutes, the replay value of this album is great, with the only low spot being "Body Reprise," the spacey instrumental played before "They Put a Body in the Bayou" in its music video. If that song had been explored more deeply, perhaps extending it and adding clearer instrumentation with some simple lyrics from Mario, I think the album could have been a full 10 for me.
Answering the question shown here in the review submission page;
If it were stolen/lost, would you buy it again or get something else?
Yes, I've had a few albums that were stolen/lost, and I eventually replaced most of them. There's not a lot of artists that I like to buy vinyl/cassette from, but The Orwells are definitely one of my favourites.